02 March 2021

National Careers Week: virtually the same

By Natalie Grindey, Regional Programme Manager

National Careers Week looks a little different this year compared to the whirlwind of last year.

As the Regional Programme Manager for the South, I work with a range of schools from London to the South Coast to East Anglia. I was so pleased to support my schools during NCW by helping them to utilise their alumni networks to take part in activities. I spent three days in Norwich and a day in Peterborough, delivering sessions all about the world of work. It was brilliant to be supported by so many fab Future First alumni volunteers and we had alumni from a range of careers returning to their old schools – including a firefighter, a TV producer and a civil servant. 

Although facilitating workshops is a large part of what we do at Future First, we also empower schools to run their own activities. Our role is to assist in the background, helping to develop event ideas and then recruit the right alumni for the activity, thus building a strong and sustainable alumni network that lasts. During last year’s NCW I helped schools organise the following:

  • Witchford Village College hosted a networking morning
  • Grey Court School held an event for their Year 9s who got the opportunity to meet and question former students
  • Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School invited former students to a networking breakfast as part of celebration of International Women’s Day
  • Bottisham Village College held career talks
  • Eggar’s School had mock interviews and assembly talks

All of this in one week – and this is just the schools I work with! So many events took place across our Future First partner schools due to the solid support of former students.

We’re all aware that this year is going to look quite different, I definitely won’t be gallivanting around the East of England like I usually do! However, we are really excited at the possibilities of technology and how this has enabled us to be in more places at once, often including more than one school in an activity. All of a sudden, those former students who are disappointed to not get involved because they live too far away, can be right in the classroom with students – or right in the home. In fact, since last March we have had contributions from volunteers in Kuwait, Texas and Berlin just to name a few.

This year we will be taking part in a number of virtual activities with schools, including: ‘Advice and a Slice’ (pizza + careers advice!), career path Q&As, guest speaker slots, and of course, working with our fantastic employer partners to deliver workshops on careers. We have also been creating reusable resources for our schools and colleges, including alumni interviews and case studies. Our schools are planning to roll these out during this National Careers Week and we’ll be supporting them, as usual, every step of the way.

Find out about our new alumni programme and sign your school up here, or consider giving back to your own school by signing up as an alumni volunteer.

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